Edmonton woman fired by plus-size retailer, after using word ‘fat’ in online post
A plus-size retailer has fired one of its Edmonton employees, for describing store clientele in an online post as ‘fat’ – the woman says she will fight the dismissal, saying she feels liberated by the word.
On Tuesday, about a week after Connie Levitsky started working at the Addition-Elle store in West Edmonton Mall, she was fired – she told CTV News her employment was terminated because she used a certain word to describe store clientele.
“Conquering the world, one well-dressed fat lady at a time,” Levitsky said, reading the description she wrote about her job at the store on Facebook.
“My manager specifically said ‘You know, fat isn’t a word that the company wants to associate itself with, we want to associate ourselves with words like curvy, shapely’,” Levitsky said.
Levitsky said she things those words are best used to describe some customers who shop at the store, but not all.
“If you walk into an Addition-Elle, Penningtons, Reitmans, you know that’s not how all fat women look, so to use words like curvy and shapely – essentially talking about a very specific type of fat woman, I think that’s doing a disservice to the clientele you were afraid I was going to drive away,” Levitsky said.
The company told CTV News Levitsky shouldn’t have been fired, but said use of that particular word is a slippery slope.
“Taken out of context, it can be offensive to use the word fat for some of our customers and employees and others, they see this as empowering, and we don’t have a filter to understand people’s perception of the word,” Addition-Elle Marketing VP Roslyn Griner said.
Now, the retailer is apologizing to Levitsky, and said it is willing to hire her back.
“I think she took a rash decision to let her go, and we don’t agree with it as a company, and we definetly want to apologize to Connie,” Griner said.
However, after all this, Levitsky says she’s not sure she wants to work for the retailer again – she hopes her story will make a difference to other women like her.
“I think the real change I would like to see is a conversation being had about how we see fat people and what we as a society can do to erase some of that stigma,” Levitsky said.
With files from Shanelle Kaul